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Liverpool missed the chance to cement their grip on fourth place in the Barclays Premier League as an error from Kolo Toure allowed West Bromwich Albion to claim a 1-1 draw.
Brendan Rodgers' side could have gone four points clear in fourth with a win over a West Brom side still looking for a first win under new head coach Pepe Mel. The visitors appeared to be on course for a 15th league victory of the campaign when Daniel Sturridge put them ahead with a close-range finish midway through the first half.
Liverpool dominated for long periods, but after the break were left to rue an ill-advised pass across his area from Toure, which allowed substitute Victor Anichebe to level matters with only his second goal since joining West Brom from Everton. Mel's men could not complete the turnaround, though, with both sides forced to settle for a draw that moves Liverpool two points in front of fifth-placed Everton and West Brom only one ahead of the relegation zone.
Liverpool were unchanged from the 4-0 midweek victory over Everton, but the visitors struggled to break down West Brom in a subdued start to the contest. They scored with the first real chance of the game after 24 minutes, Sturridge tapping in his 50th Barclays Premier League goal from Luis Suarez's magnificent far-post cross after the Uruguayan had linked up well with Raheem Sterling.
Suarez curled narrowly wide from a free-kick as Liverpool looked to press home their superiority. Rodgers' side continued to dictate, Philippe Coutinho going close from long range, and West Brom's cause was not helped by an injury to defender Jonas Olsson, who limped off five minutes before the interval to be replaced by Diego Lugano. It took the hosts 42 minutes to fashion a goalscoring opportunity, but midfielder Zoltan Gera’s drive from distance flew well off target.
West Brom made a better start to the second half and would have levelled through Gareth McAuley's close-range header had it not been for a stunning save from Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The hosts remained fallible at the back, with only the fine reflexes of Ben Foster preventing Suarez from doubling Liverpool's lead just before the hour.
That save proved crucial as West Brom profited from Toure's error. The Ivory Coast defender attempted to play a pass across the face of the box, but instead it landed straight at the feet of Anichebe, who steadied himself before firing past Mignolet and into the bottom corner with 67 minutes gone.
West Brom perhaps shaded the close stages but did not fashion a clear-cut chance to snatch a win as they claimed a valuable point.
West Brom head coach Pepe Mel: "I'm very happy for the players and fans. In the first half we didn't press [Steven] Gerrard and [Jordan] Henderson enough and they caused us problems. We pressed much better in the second half and Anichebe's goal came from [Matej] Vydra and [Zoltan] Gera pressing. Victor took his goal very well.
"Foster also did good work. He is a very, very good goalkeeper. The last game [a 4-3 defeat by Aston Villa on Wednesday] was not good for us but the players are happier now."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “Defensively, we were very, very good. I'll never criticise players for trying to play football but Kolo probably shouldn't have received the ball under pressure and his pass was misplaced.
"It's the bravest place on the field as we look to build our play from behind. That has won us many games this season. We like to build the game and construct play from behind and sometimes it will cost you and today was unfortunately one of those days. Kolo Toure has been brilliant since he's been here. He's been a real leader, an outstanding professional and, unfortunately, it was a mistake."
"Until the mistake we made we were in control of the game. Maybe we should have been 2-0 up but they pulled it back to 1-1. So it gives them a little bit of momentum and the game is in the balance. But it's a good point. We played some terrific stuff and created some good chances. Overall, I'm disappointed now that we haven't taken all three points but it's another point further for us in terms of where we're wanting to go."
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